Thai university riled by lecturers' criticism of government

Rights groups are urging a university to drop an investigation of a group of lecturers who criticized Thailand's military junta, calling the university's response an attack on free speech and academic freedom.

A group of faculty members at the human rights institute of Thailand's Mahidol University on Saturday denounced the military government's repeated use of a measure that grants it broad powers to search property and make arrests. Article 44 was included in a temporary constitution after the army seized power in a 2014 coup.

University administrators reacted Sunday by saying the statement had damaged the state university's reputation and was not an exercise of academic freedom, and its signers would be investigated.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused the university of doing the junta's bidding by repressing the lecturers.